Someone Like Me

The night I broke up with Mr. P, my best friend M had made the commute from the Upper West to the Lower East to keep me company since I knew no one at the party except Mr P’s sister. She arrived ready to dance and drink whiskey while I sipped on my hot tea, fighting the onset of an awful cold.

When the clock struck ten, two hours past the time Mr. P asked me to arrive for his friend’s birthday, I gave up hope he would show and any sadness I felt turned into bitter hostility. Too angry to move, I sat firmly in between his brother-in-law and an old friend, both of which expressed concern for Mr. P. In return, I shrugged an innocent grin, attempting to disguise my frustration. Seeing my blatant annoyance, M grabbed my hand and made me dance in the little black dress that was wasted on the evening. It’s your birthday weekend! she reminded me. You should be enjoying yourself!! I couldn’t help but smile and groove with her demands, especially since she wouldn’t let me even if I tried.

After a few songs, I returned to the table to hydrate when I caught a glimpse of Mr. P entering the bar and significantly intoxicated. He stumbled his way to me, muttered halfhearted apologies and laughed at his lateness. I responded with silence and rejoined M on the dance floor who mouthed: Are you okay? I shook my head No but continued to sway my hips, so M continued too, and there we grooved without saying a word, though saying everything, as best friends usually do. When the music faded into Adele’s Someone Like You, we looked at each other and it was clearer than it had ever been before that the last straw was breaking, or passing out on the bench at a dive bar downtown — either way I wanted to look at it, the answer was there. I’ve never been one to let pop culture define much of anything for me, but the words rang too true and too bittersweet for me not to take note. M hugged me and we danced and sang the whole song before I tapped Mr. P awake to try to talk some sense into him. Or at least give him the option to make up for his mistake. When he denied my offer, I refused the relationship.

I wish I could say that was that and I’ve easily moved on and let go of him without much hesitation at all. I wish I could declare my complete independence and that I’ve started dating someone I’m crazy about. I wish I could say I never think of him or respond to his emails or calls. I wish I could say I’m stronger than what I really am, less prone to stinging heartache than I’ve been before. But the truth is, that song still makes me sad. And it’s not the only thing that does.

When I stumble across places we frequented together or when I find something funny I think he would like. Or when it’s cold in my room or my family asks about him or I run into a mutual friend who still, four months later, didn’t realize we split. And for a while I was letting all of those things, all those places, all those reminders keep me from doing or going. I’ve gradually started reclaiming my New York and the stuff I love by dissociating it with a relationship or with the idea of a love that never was nourished enough to bloom. Recently though, those steps forward have become more like long, strong strides.

When discussing an upcoming solo ski-tubing trip with my friend K, she mentioned hand-warmers and I was instantly brought back to last Christmas when Mr. P bought $100 worth of hand-warmers for his family members. My immediate reaction was to express my distaste for them and how they bring back visions of a happy Mr. P I sometimes miss. Being the practical gal she is, K attempted to convince me that something meant to keep me from freezing has little to do with a sour relationship and a lot to do with survival on a mountain. A few hours later when I caught the train to the gym, I thought about K’s valid point and then chronicled some of the things I’ve stopped doing since I broke up with Mr. P simply because the actions remind me of him: cooking stir-fry (his favorite), wearing lingerie (no one sees it but me), buying yogurt (we used to sit together on the couch in the mornings eating it), wearing the coin necklace he gave me that I love and I even feel odd glancing at my Blackberry on the subway because it’s something he always did.

Really Lindsay? You don’t do all of those things because of some guy? Seriously? It’s time to do things for you. 

And so after my run, I stopped by the grocery store for rice, peppers, chicken and yogurt and I went to the Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale because one of my 50 things is investing in matching sets. When I got home, I put on my new lingerie, sported the charm I love and cooked enough stir-fry to last me for days. He may have dictated my life while he was part of it, but now that he’s not, any ownership of memories or things, places or dishes have now switched back into my hands.

Mr. P taught me some great lessons but probably the best one is something he never sought to teach: how to stand up for what I want in love. He knew his weaknesses and his inability to emotionally commit, and when I finally saw it too, I realized how little I stand up for myself when I’m deep into a relationship. And that was my greatest downfall – I was so busy trying to find someone so perfect that I did everything I could to be the perfect person they wanted, and forgot about what I really wanted in my pursuits of happily-forever-and-ever. I let things that have nothing to do with a man have everything to do with him. I allowed myself to compromise what really mattered in my heart just to hold a fraction of his. And the pay off was nothing special or different – it was just another story to tell, another failed courtship to put in the books and build myself up from. Another reason for my friend to drag me out into an anonymous crowd to dance away my aching as I try to forget the shadow in the corner.

Adele may hope to find someone like her ex and a part of me wants to find parts of Mr. P in someone else too but the main thing I’m looking for is a man who is someone like me. Someone who is thoughtful and considerate, mature and ambitious. Someone who doesn’t need fancy dinners but likes them, someone who wants to travel and create a home at the same time. Someone steady and stable but surprising in the ways that matter. Someone equally as romantic and dependable, stubborn and generous. Someone who is no where close to wanting a relationship but still believes in the powers of fate he’s yet to understand.

Someone who is looking for someone like me.

Walk This Way

If there is one aspect of my style that will never change, it is my love for high heels. I can’t explain the surge of energy it gives me to strut down the street, hearing the incomparable click-click rhythm on the pavement, and seeing heads turn as I pass by.

Even when I went to a school with an elevation of 3,333 feet and there was a foot of snow on the ground, I always sported a pair of kicks with a little step. Needless to say, I was often ridiculed and declared insane, but to this day, I feel out-of-my-element when I don’t have some heels on my feet (I think they’ve grown accustomed to the curve).

I may regret the decision to wear stilettos when I get older, but for now, the strength they “give” me, either metaphorically or literally, is something that helps boost my confidence and morale.

Sure enough, this self-assurance via Jimmy Choo has shown through my love life, too. Every man I’ve ever dated has told me they loved the way I walk. I’ve always taken it as a compliment and appreciated that they took note, but it never quite mattered to me what they thought. Wearing heels or hearing their click has never been about attracting the attention of a man, but just a fashion that I thoroughly enjoy just for me.

While I think part of my walk was just hereditary (I have a smokin’ mom), some of the way I got the swivel down pat is by listening to girl-power tunes while strutting. Without even noticing, I get a little more attitude in my step and I feel more confident when I have some buds in my ear. Anytime I’ve been down about a guy or my looks, I download an empowering song and strut-it-out. Somehow, the beat and the you-go-girl themed lyrics seem to lift my spirits, even when they are at an all-time low.

In fact, I have a playlist on my iTunes called “High Heels” which I always put on as I walk out the door and again when I get off the train to go somewhere. The songs in this collection give me the beat I need to battle the streets and “walk-it-out” before facing the day.

Because step 4 is about digging deep inside of myself to see where my obsession with love originated, I’ve been thinking a lot about past relationships and how I’ve dealt with them. And while I’ll go into detail about each one in posts to come, I’ve noticed a central theme of what’s helped me to recover: music.

Seems simple enough, but part of recovery (from a breakup or from having a day when you feel so ugly you could die) is finding simple ways to escape, regroup, and reenergize. For me, certain songs and artists do the trick for me.

In celebration of the dedication to honesty I’ve recently adapted, here is my “High Heels” playlist, straight from my iPod (without deleting anything, so no judging). Try downloading a few and please add your comments of ones that have helped you:

Sexy Chick by David Gruetta ft. Akon

If this doesn’t make you feel sexy when you sway your hips, what will? I mean, damn girl!

Born to Fly by Sara Evans

The words could be more perfect – “I’ve been tellin’ my dreams to the preacher about the places I’d like to see….is there a brown-eyed boy in my future…girl you ain’t got nothin’ but time!”

Short Skirt, Long Jacket by Cake

I have, in fact, worn a mini and a trench while listening to this song. Yep.

Right as Rain by Adele

I’m a big jazz fan and this has a jazzy-feel to it. Plus, it’s perfect when you’re just done with a relationship and you’re getting over someone. “Cos’ when hard work don’t pay off, and I’m tired, there ain’t no room in my bed, as far as I’m concerned. So wipe that dirty smile off – we won’t be making up, I’ve cried my heart out. And now, I’ve had enough of love.” (After being pissed, though, please do believe in love again, k?)

American Boy by Estelle

It’s this song that I picture myself as a fierce European woman using an American boy as a playmate. And it says “New York” in it, so I’m hooked by default.

Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall

When I interned at Cosmo, as I walked from the subway to the Hearst tower, I listened to this song and marched in my red high heels. The words remind me of myself, “And I feel like walking the world, like walking the world. And you can hear she’s a beautiful girl, she’s a beautiful girl. She fills up every corner like she’s born in black and white…looking from the pages of a magazine…”

I Don’t Need a Man by Pussycat Dolls

This is a recovering love addict’s theme song: “I don’t need a man to make it happen. I get off being free. I don’t need a man to make me feel good, I get off doing my own thing. I don’t need a ring around my finger, to make me feel complete…”

See the World by Guzmo

I stole this from one of my mom’s CDs and fell absolutely in love with it. It’s more of a happy tune then a beat-boppin’ tune, but it’s about seeing the world, finding yourself, and then of course, finding someone.

Good Life by OneRepublic

If I could pick one song to represent how I feel about living in New York, being a 20-something finding herself, and learning to love today for what it is – this song would be it. Oh yes, it is going to be the good life.

Gives You Hell by All American Rejects

This is for Mr. Curls, Mr. Faithful, Mr. Rebound, Mr. Buddy, Mr. Fire, and Mr. Idea when this blog turns into a book, which turns into a movie. Just sayin’.

Walk this Way by Aerosmith

I picture myself in a catholic school girl outfit, dancing on a bar with my girlfriends while cute boys watch. Don’t ask why, I just do.

Fergalicious by Fergie

Actually, in my playlist, it’s called “Linds-a-licious” and I encourage you to do the same with your own name. Fergie always makes a point to spell in her songs, but girl’s got the best single-gal songs, ever.

Do You Believe in Magic by The Lovin’ Spoonful

This was given to me by my friend, R, who is one of the happiest individuals I’ve ever met. When you listen to it, you just gotta’ smile.

Candyman by Christina Aguleria

I think of a very attractive man, who probably isn’t quite my type, but we have this amazing chemistry and we’re flirting. I may also be wearing very red lipstick.

Labels or Love by Fergie

In honor of Sex & the City (I won’t deny I’m a fan), this song embodies what it’s like sometimes to be single and struggling in the city. If I had the money, I would be even more into this song.

Rockstar by Rihanna

No, I can’t sing. I can’t play the guitar. I’m not very…hip. I played the piano a decade ago. But, yes I’m a rockstar. And so are you.

Dynamite by Taio Cruz

How can you not walk fiercely when you listen to this song? It is absolutely perfect for picturing you and your “crew” going out to the bar and not looking for anything but a good time.

London Bridge by Fergie

Oh snap! Why is it that every time you come around, my London Bridge wants to go down? And who knew it was called a London Bridge. I think I’d rather have a more New York term…every time you come around, my Big Apple wants to go down? Hmm.

Can’t be Tamed by Miley Cyrus

Well of course I already feel like I can’t be “tamed” per say. While Miss Miley may be a little risqué these days, I still dig her music and I’m not ashamed of it.

Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z

When I think of this song, I think of my best friend L and I dancing at this crummy little bar in my college town a few weeks before I graduated from college. As we were dancing, she said, “I can’t believe you’re really leaving!” And even though I was sad, it was then that it really clicked that I was. It’s surreal to listen to it and walk through the streets the lyrics talk about, FYI.

The Middle by Jimmy Eat World

It’s an oldie, but a goodie. It couldn’t be truer, either: “It just takes some time, little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride. Everything, everything will be just fine. Everything will be alright.

Any Man of Mine by Shania Twain

Dear future boyfriend or husband (or just fling, if I so decide to have), please listen to this song and realize this is how I feel. Ok?

Click Flash by Ciara

This song, as I’m walking down the street, I pretend there are paparazzi following me, taking pictures and that I’m famous. I also pretend my clothes are designer. Lame? Yes. Gratifying? Yessss.

Faith by George Michael

Not only is this fun to sing along to, but the words are powerful. Yes, we want to go home with certain guys and throw our hearts to the wind (and maybe I will one day), but you have to stay true to yourself, too. And more than anything, you have to have faith in yourself and in the process.

Hey Girl by OAR

There is one sweet love song on my High Heels playlist. When I close my eyes and I imagine the type of man I will end up with (and now dreaming doesn’t hurt as much), I think of a guy who would sing these words to me. Free but loyal, talented but centered, passionate and fun, but humble. And of course, adores me.

Just Dance by Lady Gaga

For a while, this song reminded me of Mr. Idea and his dance moves, but now, it just shows me how much I have to keep the steps going and try not to lose sight of today, when I’m looking for the finale. It will be okay.

New Soul by Yael Naim

Move to a big city. Check. Find a job. Check. Find an apartment. Check. Make a ton of mistakes. Check. Learn from mistakes. Check. Find peace and love in herself. In progress.

One Step at a Time by Jordin Sparks

If you have high heels on, you can coordinate the clicking at the beginning of this song with your actual heels. And listen to the words, all very encouraging. So close you can taste it…but it’s all one step at a time.

Unwritten by Natasha Beddingfield

Well, I’m a writer. C’mon.